It sounds simple enough, right? Get a ring, get engaged, tie the knot. Easy Peasy! Or is it?
Here is the thing, 20 years ago, before we had YouTube and our BFF Google (or Alexa or Siri), planning your own wedding was an experience straight out of a Stephen King novel. These days though, let’s be honest, the internet can get us through just about anything. I can learn to stich up a compound fracture, build a fire from used Kleenex and butterfly wings, and rebuild my lawnmower engine all in one day, and still have time to bake that Baked Alaska that Marth Stewart taught me to make. I mean, I should have a Phd in YouTubing by now. So planning your wedding… no problem. And that really is the truth of it. With the vast array of resources at your fingertips, you have all the information you need to plan a successful wedding, large or small, with minimal support. In fact, if we are honest, the only people you really need (other than a partner to marry) is someone to officiate and a witness, everything else is fluff to enhance the experience and elevate the celebration of your union.
Here is the thing many don’t realize though, planning this seemingly beautiful celebration of love and partnership can easily turn in to a little slice of Hell served up in a spoonful of lemon chiffon and buttercream. The process of planning your wedding can test you and your partner before you are even married.
Don’t fret, there is help and hope. The most important thing you can do to ensure you have the best wedding day ever is assemble the best damn event team you can. With so many options out there, how do you go about assembling this team of superheroes? We have put together a quick list of what we think are the critical and important elements to ensure you have the best planning experience you can have.
Hire someone to help keep your motley crew in line (AKA – A Wedding Planner) – Yes, as planners, we are a bit biased, but finding the right planner for your wedding is the single most important thing you can do to ensure success. Weather you bring in a planner for day-of support, partial planning help, or a full planning experience, bring them in early and take a bit of time to ensure you find the right fit. Why is a good planner so important?
- A good planner will save you money. Don’t expect your planner to go out and get you discounts. They may pass along discounts here and there, but this shouldn’t be expected and isn’t where they save you money. Planners are acutely aware of the value of every element that goes into a wedding and work to ensure you don’t overpay for services and products along the way. Planners know how to find great value for you, where those that are not in the industry would never find it.
- A good planner will maintain strict control of your budget. Weather your budget is $5000, $25,000, or $75,000, a professional planner will be able to help you build an event that fits easily within your budget. A great planner will be honest if your vision exceeds your budget and help you find ways to get as close as you can within the financial constraints. It is important to be clear and honest with your planner about your budget.
- Planners know pros. There are a whole lot of hacks out there and more pop up every day. Wedding planners know how to help you assemble a great, professional team that will not screw up you wedding day.
- (Most) Planners are creative as hell. Need to figure out how to float into your ceremony on a giant pink donut with unicorn sprinkles? Planners/Designers thrive on building moments of wow out of bubble gum and duct tape.
- Planners will save you from logistics nightmares. Wedding planners can walk into any venue, anywhere in the world and instantly identify red flags and challenges that might get in the way of your wedding day, and then find solutions well in advance. The thing we do best is ensure the entire day moves and flows in seamless fashion.
- Most importantly, hiring a planner ensures you get to enjoy your wedding day. I cannot tell you how many stories I have heard from couples that didn’t have a planner and spent their entire wedding day running the event, chasing last minute issues, answering questions from vendors and guests, fretting over times lines, and generally running redlined stress levels the entire day. This is your day. Hire a planner and enjoy it.
Here is a great article on things to think about when selecting your wedding planner.
Build your wedding plan THEN hunt for your venue. Wedding planners can be instrumental in helping you find a venue that fits your vision. If you have a location in mind that you have dreamt of for years, that’s fine, but consult with a planner before you book the venue. So many couples will book a venue first, only to realize too late that the design and vision don’t work there. Always good to ensure that design, vision, and venue are all aligned before signing that contract. Here is a list of some of our favorite venues in the area. You can always find a wealth of booking information and details at The Wedding Spot or WeddingWire.
Find the right DJ/MC. Many couples disregard this important element of planning until the end and often bargain shop to save some money. We can’t underestimate the importance of this key part of your team. This person is almost always the voice of your wedding, their personality and energy keeps your event moving, keep your guests engaged, and brings the “life” to your event vision. An unprofessional, amateur DJ can tank your event. Here is a list of some of the fabulous DJs that we love working with. Additional places to look for a professional DJ would be WeddingWire, The Knot, and American Disk Jockey Association (ADJA).
Photographer & Videographer. You are creating memories, capture them in any and every way you can. You will look back on these photos and videos for years to come, don’t skimp on them and, yes, we absolutely recommend video. There are a lot of amateurs out there, be sure you find a professional with real wedding experience. Someone that knows what shots will be important and how to get them in all kinds of different lighting environments. Nothing worse than having your beautiful event captured with shadows and sunspots. Here is a list of some of some wonderful visual artists.
For us, these are the key and critical components you want to nail down early and with loads of support. There are loads of other event partners and elements that you will secure along the way, but tackle these four first to ensure your event is amazing.